2021/22 could be said to be a year of two halves (using a football analogy). We started 2021 with many issues still surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, but as the year progressed, with the vaccination programme in place, we were able to bring the community together again.

Fairfield Parish Council (FPC) saw two changes to its team with Amanda Marioni-Hunt and Vinesh Khatwa leaving and I would like to thank them for the time and commitment they gave to their community. We had three Fairfield residents apply for these roles. Anna Papakosta and Tony Hopkins were selected for co-option by the remaining councillors to replace Amanda and Vinesh. With Amanda leaving the council, Penny Daffarn was elected as Vice Chair.

Over the last twelve months, FPC, working with various community groups, have been active in bringing the community together. In September, we had a glorious afternoon on the land behind the Community Hall, running our annual Fairfield Apple Day. This gave friends and neighbours the opportunity to meet up for the first time in two years.

At the end of the year, we had three outdoor events on the Urban Park. We remembered those we had lost over several wars with Remembrance Sunday, highlighting the importance of the various Commonwealth Countries and the important roles they played.

We also celebrated Christmas, with our new Christmas Tree and decorations, with a lighting ceremony. We had the WI and Bowls clubs providing refreshments, and to top a great evening, it even snowed as we were doing the countdown to the official tree switch on. We also had a Carol Singing Evening around the Christmas tree, but unfortunately, due to a downfall of rain, it kept people at home. However, we did have a few hardy people turn up and we thank them for their support.

With the war in the Ukraine, I am sure most residents have been horrified by the news reports, both on TV and the newspapers. However, the community has come together and raised approximately £2,000 for the appeal fund, mainly from the recent Quiz Night held at the Community Hall, run by Jessie, Bernie and the team at the hall, not to mention the great kitchen volunteers.

On the evening of the Quiz Night, we welcomed our first new residents from Ukraine and I am sure the Parish will support those residents who opened their homes for families that have had to escape this conflict in their own country.

Looking forward, we already have plans to celebrate Her Majesty The Queen Elizabeth’s Jubilee with the lighting of a beacon, a film day on the cricket pitch and various local community organising street parties in line with the Queen’s Jubilee Big Lunch.

When Fairfield started to be constructed, various builders and local councils made promises that were often not fulfilled. With the creation of Fairfield’s own Parish Council, we were able to raise funds to rectify some of the issues raised during this time. A good example was the unsightly asbestos-roofed green building by the cricket pavilion. We used Council funds to have the building removed and relocate the items it stored to the cricket pavilion.

Over recent years, we have worked closely with the Fairfield Bowls Club and were happy to support the opening of the new Petanque piste within the club’s grounds, which is available for residents to use. The Parish Council have also been working hard with Letchworth Cricket Club, supporting them, as we use their cricket pitch as our playing fields 300 days of the year. We have installed new benches, which are used by all residents. We have also assisted the cricket club with work on their pavilion and the outfield. Letchworth Cricket Club, for their part, have brought youth cricket to Fairfield, under the English Cricket Board Allstars and Dynamos programme, which we hope will be successful, and we can build another activity for the youth of Fairfield to participate in.

The community hall is an example of a building that was constructed by the builders, but was not designed for the purpose the Parish really required. A recent article in Fairfield Matters, by Robin Horseley, highlights how the building was designed as badminton courts, to where we are now, with a thriving community hall for all Fairfield residents. The building has finally been handed over to FPC in the last month. It will continue to be run by the Fairfield Community Trust.

Several years ago, FPC purchased a large selection of hospital artefacts. Fairfield WI decided to dedicate a room in the community hall and, with help from FPC, purchased glass display cabinets, stands, photo albums and picture frames, to have these artefacts on permanent display. We have also taken over the Three Counties Hospital website, which thanks to Barrie Dack, will be updated and maintained.

Nick Andrews